Following the Aaron Rodgers extension, the Davante Adams trade, and a host of other moves, the Packers currently possess a little more than $15MM in cap space, per OverTheCap.com. Of course, Green Bay still needs to maintain sufficient room to sign its rookie class and make in-season transactions, and as Matt Schneidman of The Athletic (subscription required) writes, the club might be interested in a free agent wide receiver like Odell Beckham Jr. or Will Fuller now that Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are out of the picture.
In other words, the Packers would still like to create more cap room, and per Schneidman, the most obvious way to achieve that goal would be to extend cornerback Jaire Alexander. As we heard earlier this month, Green Bay and Alexander’s camp have engaged in negotiations on a long-term pact.
One potential snag is that, according to Schneidman, Alexander is seeking a contract that would make him the highest-paid corner in the league. Currently, Rams CB Jalen Ramsey is the clubhouse leader in terms of both AAV ($20MM) and practical guarantees ($71.2MM).
Alexander, a member of the 2018 All-Rookie team who had established himself as a quality starter over his first two years in the league, had a breakout in 2020, earning his first Pro Bowl nod and Second Team All-Pro recognition. The advanced analytics at Pro Football Focus supported those honors with a tremendous 90.5 overall grade, and Green Bay made the easy decision to exercise Alexander’s fifth-year option for the 2022 season, which guarantees him a $13.3MM salary.
Unfortunately, Alexander played in just four regular season games in 2021 thanks to an October shoulder injury, and while he did return for Green Bay’s lone postseason contest, he appeared in just eight snaps in the Packers’ snowy upset at the hands of the 49ers. So while it stands to reason that he would shoot for the moon based on his career trajectory up to the 2021 campaign, it also makes sense that the team is uncomfortable authorizing a Ramsey-esque contract at this point.
If Alexander wants top-of-the market money, he may have to wait until next offseason and turn in a fully-healthy 2022 season reminiscent of his 2020 efforts. If he is willing to sacrifice a bit of earning potential in exchange for a lesser contract that will still provide him with a significant amount of guaranteed money, perhaps he and the Packers can find some middle ground in the coming weeks.